Trump has screwed the pooch and has yet to realize it

During the movie and book “The Right Stuff” about astronauts and test pilots, when a pilot made a fatal error, it was often said “he screwed the pooch.” Unfortunately, the key word in the sentence is fatal. Although he won’t die from this, our President has just screwed the pooch with respect to his presidency. It will take several to many months for this to play out, but his presidency is toast. He will be impeached or resign.

Why do I say such a thing? Actually, I am borrowing from E.J.Dionne’s column noting the President has painted himself into a corner. After his furious internal  response to Jeff Sessions’ recusing himself from a Russian involvement investigation and after his childish attempts to show Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer meeting with Putin years ago on the record, he took it upon himself to send a series of tweets accusing the former President of something he could not and would not do.

Trump ham-handedly said Obama had his office wiretapped before the election, without citing proof. Not only has Obama denied this, but so has James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence and James Comey, the Director of the FBI. Comey was said to be indignant over Trump’s claiming his people broke the law. These two would know if wiretapping went on and they denied it. Now, why would both of them deny something that could be easily proven in an investigation?

But, here is the corner Trump is now in. Senator Lindsey Graham will investigate this. If there, in fact, was a wiretap, a judge would have ordered it and would have had probable cause. That is not good for Mr. President. If it was not, then the President just showed horrible judgment and has accused the former President of something he did not do, plus he alienated further his intelligence community.

Yet, now Graham can open the can worms as he said he would and also investigate the Russian links. I hope that would include a subpoena of his tax records, because per conservative columnist David Brooks, Trump is likely beholden to someone for loans after his bankruptcies dried up normal channels of funding. And, unlike most other Republicans in Congress, Graham remembers he pledged an oath to uphold the constitution of the United States, not the Republican Party.

I have seen a lot of things in my time, but what I witness about the Russian involvement story, is this White House and people who supported Trump’s candidacy are doing a lot of lying, denial, apology for denial, and media bashing. I have felt for many months the American people deserve to get to the bottom of this dating back to late July when I first heard about Russian hacking. We are owed an explanation.

As a related aside, my wife and I watched Carter Page, one of Trump’s folks interviewed by PBS Newshour two weeks ago. He denied meeting with the Russians and was quite adamant about it. We looked at each other and said “he is lying.” Guess what? He admitted to lying last week. So, did Flynn and Sessions, no matter how much perfume he places on his explanation.

Trump has screwed the pooch because he cannot stay out of his own way. What is ironic is his fascination with pseudo news sites Fox News and Breitbart will be his undoing, as they are the source of his likely erroneous claim. I would be hard pressed to see Comey and Clapper lying over such an issue. I am not hard pressed to envision Trump lying about anything.

It takes more than a sickle to hack like this

The CIA and now FBI have our President-elect and his supporters with their dress over their head based on their strongly held concerns that Russia attempted to influence our election in favor of the President-elect, hacking not with a sickle but something more high tech. I had a friend who would use this analogy to describe someone’s frustration based on his daughter’s example of getting madder and madder with her inability to get her dress off over her head.

The President-elect and his supporters have condemned this story as unproven and having no impact on the election. The line of attack most used by Trump and his PR people is that there is no evidence of hacked machines, conveniently ignoring the fact that the influence is more to do with what happened before the voting took place.

Trump and his PR folks also blame the liberal media and leaders, which seem to have converged as a composite evil entity. They are in cahoots against this victimized truthful man his supporters imply. And, if so important, why did the President wait until Clinton lost to bring this up his supporters say? The last statement has been said often, but also been confirmed as false as the evidence exists that proves the President-elect is being untruthful. He is saying don’t believe your own eyes and ears, believe me alone.

As for the former claim that story is being made up by the composite liberal enemy, there are several key Republican senators, including Senators Mitch McConnell. Marco Rubio, John McCain and Lindsay Graham among others, who have said this must be investigated. I have not heard the word liberal used to define these senators. And, as an Independent voter who cares about our country’s governance, I agree with these Senators.

The truth needs to be discovered as these are serious claims made by our intelligence community that must take their job seriously. We need to think of this as if the President was named John Smith and came from the ABC Party. We cannot have Russia or anyone hacking anything to influence our elections, period.

I have also seen editorialists say with conviction that this did not have any impact on the election because it did not change votes. The latter claim is unknown as I have seen security experts discuss back in July that impacting certain machines in select districts was doable and someone was pinging the machines looking for weaknesses. But, the larger issue is more clear to me as I have feared Russian involvement when I first saw reports that pointed fingers at them beginning in July.

One candidate, his team and the press got to read daily feeds of emails from a key staffer of the other candidate. They also got to read emails from larger dumps of hacked data from the other candidate’s political party. That did not seem fair then and as Senator Marco Rubio said in October, this is not right as it could be us (the GOP) the next time. My guess is the RNC emails would have been more entertaining with such infighting and angst over their candidate.

But, let me be as frank as possible. To say that reading your opponents’ emails did not have any impact on the election is a false statement. This is akin to a football coach reading key planning remarks (along with the media) made by the other team’s coaches. It had to have an impact, especially in light of fake news and biased news sources that were like rabid dogs looking to exploit information. And, given the word email becoming a leaky faucet when used with the word Clinton, more meaning was conveyed with each new daily talking point eroding her consideration drip by drip.

One final point should be noted. If the Russians did hack RNC and other emails, what assurances does our President-elect have that those emails won’t be used against him if he happens to do something that the Putin does not like. Putin is a KGB trained agent and it was not surprising to learn that he has a hand in disinformation efforts. If you do not believe this, note a senior newscaster from a Russian American News television network resigned on the air because she was being told what to say by Putin.